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  About Shekhawati

The semi desert region of Shekhawati is a colourful fantasy having a fascinating uniquely of its own. The open air art gallery, as it is popularly called is famous for its plethora of painted havelis, all commendable pieces of the rich artistic traditional of this region. 'Shekhawati', meanings the land of Shekhs clan derives its name from Rao Shekha (1433 AD - 1488 AD) a section of the Kachhwaha family of Jaipur. Earlier a part of the former Jaipur state, it now comprises of the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Initially the region had a blank monochromatic look but with subsequent historical and social development it has blossomed into a colourful profusion of art and life for almost 2 centuries from 1750 AD to 1930 AD

Shekhawati's magnificent havelis or mansions, built by rich merchants of the region, display a unique architectural style that evolved around the courtyards to ensure safety and privacy of the women folk and protection from the heat of the long and harsh summers.

The havelis, painted predominantly in the blue, maroon, yellows, green and indigo have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their walls. The earlier wall paintings (1830 AD -1900 AD) were largely based on the mythological themes, depicting local legends, animals, portraits, hunting and wrestling scenes and a glimpse of everyday life. The turn of the 19th century saw the appearance of new motifs, an outcome of the Raj's influence upon the Indian culture. Now cars, replaced elephants and traditional Indian miniatures mingled with naturalism of western paintings to produce interesting hybrid results. The mythological themes depicting gods, lithographs and photographs, Trains, cars, balloons, telephones gramophones English men in hunting attires and portraits of the haveli owners primly dressed were painted all over the walls-thus making the havelis interesting for both Indian and foreign travellers.

Places of interest are:
Founded in the early 19th century by Raja Lachhman Singh of Sikar, this town is planned on the lines of Jaipur, with roads at right angles and roundabouts. The grant Char Chowk Haveli is reminiscent of the prosperous Marwari way of life. The fort, Sawant Ram Chokhani Haveli, Mirijamal Kyala Haveli, Bansidhar Rathi Haveli, Kedia Haveli and Sanganeria Haveli adorned with beautiful frescoes.

Churi Ajitgarh:
This town is known for the several erotic frescoes painted behind doors, on the bedrooms ceilings and on the walls. Considering the social constructions of that time, these appear to have been the result of a very private and special efforts. Some examples of fine fresco work are evident in the Shiv Narain Nemani Haveli, Shiv Narain Nemani Baithak, Kothi Shiv Datt, Rai Jagan Lal Tibrewal Haveli and Ram Pratap Nemani Haveli.

Founded in the mid 15th century by a Kayamkhani Nawab, Fatehpur's frescoes are unrivalled. The ones done on the walls on the Devra and Singhania Havelis, splendidly combine Indian and Western styles. These carry inimitable mirror work at the entrance ways, with Japanese tiles carrying Mount Fuji's paintings. The Ram Gopal Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, Hukmi Chand Choudhri Haveli, Jalan and Bharatiiya Haveli are well worth a visit.

This town was founded in the late 18th century by the Poddars. The dome of the Poddar cenotaph carries exquisitely painted scene from the Ramayana. The devotedly painted frescoes on the Shani-ji (Saturn) temple are splendid. Worth seeing are also the Ganga temple, Tara Chand Ghanshyam Das Poddar Haveli, Baij Nath Ruia Haveli and Bagaria Haveli.

One on the most finest of the small towns in the Shekhawati region, this feudal settlement not only has a royal castle, but innumerable havelis where the painted facades offer a great variety of surprises. Mandawa was founded by Thakur Nawal Singh, a descendant of Rao Shekha after whom the entire region is named. It is today also a major center of a handicrafts and furniture industry. A painted archway decorated with Lord Krishna and his cowherds leads to the Bazar. The Mandawa Family's collection includes ceremonial costumes and precious arms with handles of jade. The havelis worth visiting are those of Chokhani, Saraf, Goenka and Ladia.

Shekhawati Sightseeing

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